HOW TO SPOT A BAD HVAC Installation
A few years ago, there was a commercial that said buying a mattress is tricky because it’s a blind item—you can’t see inside so you have to trust who you’re buying it from to give you what you really need.
The same is true of your HVAC system.
Most HVAC units look very much the same – a metal box with fans, motors and piping – so how do you know that your contractor picked the right unit for you? Did he install it according to the manufacturer’s specifications? Was it installed to your contract requirements? Unless you’ve got some training, a willingness to traipse around rooftops, and a good set of hand tools and gauges, you’re just going to have to trust your contractor.
Whether or not you have the skills or desire to be an HVAC pro, there are some simple things you can look for if you suspect that your contractor didn’t do the quality installation that you expected.
- Loud whistling or howling noise in ducts.
- Rattling or vibration noise.
- Hot or cold spots in areas of building.
- Water leaks.
- Bad smells: smoke, combustion, gasses, stale air, etc.
- Sloppy piping: odd angles, crooked lines, gunk-y pipe junctions.
- Significant refrigerant loss.
- Units installed too close together or too close to a wall or building.
- Crooked unit: not installed on level.
Avoid a Bad HVACR Installation
We’ve all been there, puzzling over quotes from several contractors, trying to decide who to trust with your equipment, your building, your money. If you’ve ever made the mistake of evaluating exclusively on price, chances are, you’ve also learned the infinite wisdom of the saying, “you get what you pay for.”
We know, of course, that price is always a major factor in decision-making, but consider the price of choosing a bad contractor just because he was the cheapest…
More than once we have been in the bizarre position of losing an install bid due to price, only to be called back after the job was done to fix the mistake of the lower-bid contractor! That means these unfortunate folks not only paid for a bad install, they paid again to make it right. Sometimes mistakes or poor installs cannot easily be undone, for example, if the equipment was not sized correctly or is located poorly. In those situations, it’s a no-win choice of significant extra cost, or living with a brand-new system that will not work properly.
That isn’t to say that the low-bid can never be the right bid. But the price should never be your only criteria.
The best way to find a Massachusetts or Rhode Island HVAC contractor is to develop a relationship with one you can trust by starting small – with a service and maintenance relationship. A quality contractor will not only give you great service and reliable maintenance, they’ll give you honest feedback about the condition of your equipment and tell you what you can do to get the most out of it. When it comes time to consider upgrades or replacements, you’ve already got a contractor you can trust to do what’s right for you.
If you don’t have time to establish a relationship with a contractor before your install project, we recommend starting with the basics, qualifications, experience, training, licenses, lack of pending litigation… etc. Visit their website to get a feel for how they do business. Also check third-party sources, such as:
After the basics, it comes down to intangibles like honestly, reputation and trustworthiness. The best way to find out about these intangibles is to talk to the contractor’s current customers. Advance Air opened its doors in 1986. Many of the customers who started with us in 1986 are still our customers today.